November 7, 2019 / 3:59 PM / 6 days ago

Banca Mediolanum CEO says merger with Mediobanca would make sense but nothing planned

MILANO, Nov 7 (Reuters) - A merger of Banca Mediolanum with Mediobanca would make sense but nothing is planned and the banks are not targeting a deal, Banca Mediolanum’s chief executive said on Thursday.

“It was an analyst’s hypothesis that makes sense because the two lenders are complementary but it is not on the table and we are not targeting it,” CEO Massimo Doris told Reuters in a telephone interview.

Doris said Mediolanum, which owns around 3.3 percent of Mediobanca, did not buy shares of the investment bank in Unicredit’s placement on Wednesday and does not plan to increase its stake. But he added that his family could increase its personal shareholding, currently at 0.4 percent, to around 1 percent over time.

Unicredit, a long-time shareholder in Mediobanca, said on Wednesday it had sold its entire 8.4% stake in the merchant bank, fuelling expectations of a spate of further deals in Italy’s financial sector.

Doris said Mediolanum, which reported a 5% rise in net profits for the first nine months on Thursday, was very satisfied as a Mediobanca shareholder. “Mediobanca has a diversified and profitable business,” he said.

Billionaire Leonardo Del Vecchio, now Mediobanca’s biggest investor following the Unicredit placement, has urged Mediobanca to return to its roots in investment banking and grow through mergers and acquisitions. (Reporting by Gianluca Semeraro and Maria Pia Quaglia; editing by James Mackenzie)

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